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Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)
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Column 12th May 2021

Too many cars and not enough parking spaces - are permits the answer?

As you probably know the County and District Councils have agreed to take over responsibility for parking enforcement from the Police in the Vale and South Oxfordshire.

This is subject to an Act of Parliament so we don’t know exactly when it will happen but one part of the preparation is ensuring that all signs and lines associated with parking restrictions comply with current Traffic Regulations.

This is to ensure that parking tickets can be enforced, because having had little or no enforcement of parking restrictions for many years, things will suddenly change.

We don’t believe that there is enough legal parking in town to cope with the number of vehicles so started a regular survey of parking to see what the real situation is.

At least once each day, one of our campaigners walked around the streets in the centre of Wantage checking the number of empty spaces in the car parks and the number of cars parked illegally.

During March (in lockdown), there was only one day when the number of cars parked exceeded the number of spaces available.

But from the 12th April everything changed.

Since then the number of cars parked illegally has exceeded the number of spaces available every day by up to 72 cars.

72 car owners would not have been able to find a parking space in one of the town car parks at that time.

This does assume that these car owners would look for a space in a car park.

Many of these cars are parked in town all day and would have to pay parking charges.

These people are much more likely to park on one of the residential streets close to the town centre which don’t have parking restrictions.

This will mean that residents may not be able to park and that access for emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles etc. may be restricted.

What will it take before residential parking permits are required?

Will a home have to burn to the ground or a resident have to die because the emergency vehicles couldn’t get close enough?

Many other market towns across the country have similar problems and have created residential parking zones.

Paying to park outside your own home may seem a little draconian but it is a public highway and a fee of approximately £1 per week for a permit may ensure your right to park.

Unless, of course, much more parking is found in the Town centre.


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